Wednesday, January 30, 2013

David Farland on poetry

Here is another interesting post by David Farland about poetry in novel writing. It's not actually about poetry, though. It's about writing beautifully as part of writing an engaging novel. I think what's interesting about this piece is that it threatens to collapse a distinction between voice and beautiful prose. While the two can be connected (voice determines prose, to a certain extent), the two are also distinct functions of writing, especially outside of genre writing. Still, it's worth a read for those who are interested in writing.

Novel Wednesdays

Another gorgeous passage from Blood Meridian:

They watched storms out there so distant they could not be heard, the silent lightning flaring sheetwise and the thin black spine of the mountain chain fluttering and sucked away again in the dark. They saw wild horses racing on the plain, pounding their shadows down the night and- leaving in the moonlight a vaporous dust like the palest stain of their passing.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Poetry Mondays

One more from George Herbert before we move on; this one is titled, "The Storm."

IF as the windes and waters here below
                            Do flie and flow,
My sighs and tears as busy were above ;
                            Sure they would move
And much affect thee, as tempestuous times
Amaze poore mortals, and object their crimes.

Starres have their storms, ev’n in a high degree,
                            As well as we.
A throbbing conscience spurred by remorse
                            Hath a strange force :
It quits the earth, and mounting more and more,
Dares to assault thee, and besiege thy doore.

There it stands knocking, to thy musicks wrong,
                            And drowns the song.
Glorie and honour are set by till it
                            An answer get.
Poets have wrong’d poore storms : such dayes are best ;
They purge the aire without, within the breast.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Rough Draft Fridays

Here are the opening paragraphs of the novella that comes between White City and Ebb:

The fir tree let out a groan and dipped toward the ground. Nar, breath in his throat, wedged his bad foot between the branch and the trunk, ready to push off if the tree fell. Overhead, the sun-tail chirped, its dull brown head cocked, watching Nar.
Don’t you dare move, Nar thought.
As though in spite, the sun-tail turned its back on Nar, fanning the brilliant yellow feathers that gave it its name. But it didn’t fly away—that was good enough for Nar. He watched the bird another moment, his heart beating out a frantic tempo in his chest. After a moment, the sun-tail resumed its song, a simple trilling whistle.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Thunder finished

I just wanted to let you know that I finished the rough draft of Thunder, the short story (closer to a novella) that I've been working on. That means that tomorrow I'll start on the last book in Flesh and Fell, code name Mourning.

I'm really pleased with how Thunder turned out, and I can't wait to revise it. Of course, first I have to revise Ebb and Bird Song, so there's a lot to do before then. But still, it's always nice to finish a project and feel good about it.

Novel Wednesdays

Here's an excerpt from Cormac McCarthy's Blood Meridian. I loved this novel, but it was one of the most violent and upsetting novels I've ever read. The prose is unbelievably good too. Here's a taste:

The flames sawed in the wind and the embers paled and deepened and paled and deepened like the bloodbeat of some living thing eviscerate upon the ground before them and they watched the fire which does contain within it something of men themselves inasmuch as they are less without it and are divided from their origins and are exiles. For each fire is all fires, and the first fire and the last ever to be.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

David Farland on Plot

Just a quick update, since I've been silent for a while (real life intrudes every once in a while). Regular posts should resume tomorrow, and I hope I won't have any more major interruptions for the next few months. Knock on wood.

First, a post that I thought I would direct all the writerly-types to: David Farland's recent post on plot, aka the story puzzle (it's unclear to me if this was written by Dave or by his assistant Kami). The post is helpful for pointing out that plotting is much less of an exact science than it may seem. I don't entirely agree with the post, but I do think it offers a valuable starting place to think about how you, personally, put together a story (since I believe it varies greatly from individual to individual).

Second, I've almost finished the short story/novella that I've been working on, code-name Thunder. It's not part of any of the trilogies I've been working on, but it's something I've been wanting to write for some time. I'm hoping to finish it tomorrow. Once it's finished, I'll begin plotting the last book in Flesh and Fell, code-name Mourning. I haven't quite decided whether I'll publish Thunder on my own or send it out, so I'll have to see how things develop with that.

That's all for now!

Monday, January 7, 2013

Magic Council Free

I just wanted to let you know that my friend Victoria is doing a promotion on her novel The Magic Council, the sequel to her first novel The Crimson League. More details here. As always, I recommend that you check out the free sample before buying anything I recommend; everyone has a different taste, and free samples are a great way to try before you buy. With a free novel, though, there's less risk.

I know the regular rotation of posts has stopped; I've hit another wall of real life business, so I'm going to try and get some more posts up by next week some time.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Rough Draft Fridays

Here's another piece of Ebb, when Tides is beginning to get started with her plans for revenge.

Apsia’s guards, Tides had decided, were far less competent than she had once feared.
Wrapped in her stolen coat, the collar turned up to hide her face, Tides trotted down toward the harbor. The sea spread out below her, slate cut with green, and white clouds bobbed on the horizon like the foam on waves. It was a bright, clear, crisp winter’s day, and even with the collar to hide her face, Tides had to struggle to keep a grin from showing. A nasty grin, yes. The kind of grin Tides had liked to wear back before, when things had been better. The kind of grin that meant she had either thrown the dice just right and fetched a pile of coin, or the kind of grin after she’d stabbed a particularly annoying rival.
In this case, it was the stabbing that brought the smile to her face. Flop had died squealing and pissing himself, inching along in the straw like a worm. Nela—well, the old brothel-keeper had died in her sleep, nothing more than a choked cry when Tides’s dagger had found her heart. Tides had a soft spot in her heart for Nela, so she’d let the old girl go easy. Not Flop. She’d taken her time with Flop. It had been very rewarding.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Happy New Year & Novella

Happy New Year to all of you--I'm sorry that this is a bit late. I've been traveling and although I've been working fairly consisting on writing, I have let the blog slide; there is only so much time in a day, and blogging tends to get pushed to the bottom. I hope everyone enjoyed New Year's Eve (safely) and that the New Year is off to a good start.

I recently finished the rough draft of the novella code-named "Bird," which will be the novella that bridges White City and Ebb. As with the other novellas I've put out, Bird isn't an essential read in order to enjoy the story of Ebb, but it does offer a glimpse into the events between White City and Ebb, and it also offers a few insights into some of the new characters in Ebb. I enjoyed writing it and I hope you enjoy reading it. It should be available for purchase at the same time as Ebb--so not for another couple months, unfortunately.

Right now I'm working on a short story that is unrelated to my other books. It's an urban fantasy short story set in Chicago, and I'm writing it to give myself a quick break from these worlds that I've been working on for so long. Since it's a short story, I'm not anticipating spending too much time on it, and I should be back to work on the final book in the Flesh and Fell series before long.

I hope everyone enjoyed the winter holidays and that things are returning to normal. Best wishes!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Novel Wednesdays

Here's another excerpt from Brent Weeks. I think this one shows off his good sense of humor, which is definitely one of the strongest parts of his prose.

Kip barely glanced there, though, and now as he followed her, he barely looked at her body. Her skirt did swoosh back and forth in a most pleasing manner as she walked, revealing slim, well-turned calves. But aside from a glance or two, or maybe three--Kip glanced again. Ah! Four. Aside from that, he didn't look at her the way he'd look at some other beautiful woman. It just didn't seem respectful.

Oops, five.

The passage is more effective when you know the relationship between Kip and this woman, but I think on its own it stands up very well. You get a feel for Weeks's effortless prose, which at times borders on breaking POV. I should note, though, that although I never had a problem with the prose, I know others would complain that Weeks breaks his third person POV. I think the prose works excellently, although I'm biased, since I write fairly closely to this way (with a few key differences).